Untitled 1/ Second Album
Untitled 1/Second Album are the first two releases by guitarist/singer/sonwriter Kevin Armstrong. They were released on cassette in the mid-90's, and are now available together on one CD. Kevin Armstrong was born in British Columbia, Canada in 1975. He grew up in the richly artistic community of Nelson, where he was exposed to all types of music, visual art and theatre. The early exposure to the creative arts planted the seeds that would bloom into a diverse artistic career which is now starting to blossom. Kevin sang his first solo at the age of 5 for his kindergarten graduation, and moved on to a moving Xylophone solo at the Christmas carol sing-in at L.V Rogers high school gymnasium in 1982. He was in the 2nd grade. These early successes aside, Kevin didn't want to bear the weight of being a child prodigy, or deal with the stress of an international career at such a young age. He traded the xylophone for a guitar, and went into reclusion for eight years, learning rock, classical and jazz. He emerged from his self-imposed exile to play in several rock and jazz groups, none particularly good, until finally deciding to dump the flaky musicians and go solo. His classical guitar training came in handy, as he began composing music for solo guitar and voice with a rhythmic, fingerstyle technique that allowed him to be the guitarist, bassist and drummer, all on one instrument. His first release, Untitled 1 (1994) made a splash in the southern BC interior, selling more than 300 copies, and getting airtime on local and CBC radio. He played at every bar, coffeehouse and street corner that would have him, and eventually packed up his 79 Volkswagen Rabbit with 2 friends and setting out on a North American tour that would expose him to audiences in such places as Chicago, Milwaukee, Halifax, Toronto and Bangor. He warmed up the audience for the David Letterman show in New York (though David Letterman didn't know it, as Kevin was doing it outside the studio on the street), and made friends with all kind of junkies, winos and floozies. They are to this day his best friends. Kevin moved to Montreal in 1996 to pursue music studies at McGill University, and break into the music scene as a singer-songwriter. Once he discovered there wasn't a music scene in Montreal, he set his sights on recording, and finished his second album, entitled Second Album (1997). This time he filled out the guitar and vocal sound with a full band, playing most of the instruments himself. He wrote a musical, Road Stories, based on his adventures across country, and got it performed at the McGill Drama Festival in 1998, and re-mounted it the following year at the Montreal Fringe Festival, this time producing and directing it himself. In 2001, Kevin finished his studies at McGill (graduating with an always marketable Master's of Music in opera performance) and set to building his home studio. It's there that he recorded Sound Castles, his first release on CD. He again played most of the instruments (with the help of Robb Surridge of The High Dials on drums), and his sound started to take a turn for the heavier. He performed again at the Montreal Fringe festival, and caught the attention of Bill Brownstien of the Gazette, who wrote an article about Kevin which took up a good part of page 4, and got Kevin some much-needed exposure. Many more people came out to see the "guitar-playing opera singer", and his CD sold briskly, even if his official underwear didn't. In summer, 2002, Kevin moved to Zürich, Switzerland, where he did a one-year apprenticeship at the Zürich opera house. There he had the opportunity to stand onstage next to some of the biggest names in the opera word, and his European opera career had begun. Kevin is currently living in Bremen Germany, where he sings full-time at the Bremer Theater, while performing as a guest in Zürich and various opera festivals around Germany. His latest musical, The Handheld Opera (in collaboration with Lucie Mayer), premiered in Switzerland to great reviews, and is in the process of becoming a radio opera-comedy. With a keen interest in the visual medium of film, Kevin has directed a short film, Satan's Slaughter Six: A Film by G. Adrian Dumkopf, a horror parody about people who take themselves too seriously, as well as a music videos for friend and former band mate Jerome Savoie's songs Stress and Entre elle et moi, the former being featured as music video of the day on CBC's web site. With his home studio back up and running, Kevin has recorded Personal Artifacts (2006), his longest and most adventurous recording to date. Drawing on influences such as Todd Rundgren, Nick Drake, Laura Nyro and Megadeth, Kevin is creating a sound rich in layered guitars, complex vocal harmonies, and a musical diversity that puts songs ranging from acoustic rock, pop ballads, jazz, hard rock and country (!) all on one CD. Kevin is a Taurus, loves Indian and Thai food, and his favourite colour is green.